In approximately one week a woman in Malaysia will be caned for drinking a lousy beer. So this makes me curious. Is this part of the "moderate" Islamic movement that the world is so desperately waiting for? Or how about the nine Christians that were recently arrested in Malaysia for allegedly trying to convert Muslims?
Please face the reality guys, "moderate" Islam is not coming to the rescue.
Model who drank beer to be first woman caned in Malaysia
Muslim model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has become the first woman in Malaysia to be sentenced to a caning after being caught drinking beer in a beach resort.
By Ian MacKinnon in Bangkok
The 32-year-old will receive six lashes at a woman's prison next week in what is being viewed as an example of the growing influence of Islamic hardliners on the country.
The mother-of-two who lives in Singapore with her husband, paid a fine of £860, but declined to lodge an appeal so she could get the punishment over with and put the episode behind her.
The harsh sentence has provoked anger among women's rights groups who fear it is another sign of the creeping influence of conservative Islam on Malaysian society.
In the northern backwater state of Kalentan ruled by the hardline Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, authorities have decreed that supermarkets must have separate checkout queues for men and women and beaches be segregated.
Young couples caught sitting too close together on park benches in the state capital, Kota Baru, are hunted down by the city's moral enforcers and fined up to £285 in Sharia courts.
The Islamic alcohol prohibition laws in Malaysia's eastern Pahang state date back more than two decades. But Malaysian-born Kartika, who now has Singaporean citizenship, is the first woman to fall foul of them.
She was arrested in July last year in a hotel nightclub in the beach resort of Cherating during a raid by the state's religious department and admitted drinking beer.
An Islamic court fined her and ordered her to be caned at Kajang women's prison next week, but spared her a jail term of up to three years.
She received word of the sentence from her father and said she would be returning to Malaysia from Singapore.
"I accept the punishment," she said. "I am not afraid because I was ready to be punished from day one. [The authorities] hope to use my case as a way to educate Muslims. So go ahead. I want to move on with my life."
Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi said: "This is the first case in Malaysia. It is a good punishment because under Islamic law a person who drinks commits a serious offence."
Muslims make up about 60 per cent of Malaysia's 28 million people and are governed by Sharia courts for all civil and religious matters.
Non-Muslims, mainly Chinese and Indians, are governed by civil courts, which impose caning sentences for serious offences such as rape. The lashes administered to the buttocks, break the skin and leave scars.
But in Kartika's case the rattan cane will be lighter than those used to punish men. Sharia law dictates it be no thicker than the little finger and the cane cannot be lifted so high the arm is away from the armpit. The court ordered the jail's female governor administer the sentence.
Kartika has been ordered to report to the jail next Monday, where she will be given a medical check-up to ensure she is fit to receive the punishment.
She could then be held for seven days, but will be released immediately after the caning.
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